Two jailed for attempted theft at boarding house

Written by on April 22, 2019


TWO men have been sentenced to 12 months imprisonment with hard labour after their attempt to steal from Lusaka Apex Medical University (LAMU) boarding house was thwarted by alert students.
Before Lusaka Magistrate Nsunge Chanda on Thursday were Lottie Mbao and Mathews Longwe, who were charged with one count of criminal trespass with intent to commit a felony.
Evidence before court was that on September 9, 2018 between 01:00 hours and 02:00 hours, one of the male students was still studying when he heard someone open the gate at the boarding house located in Chalala area.
With lights off in the room, he peeped through the window and saw Mbao and Longwe approaching hostels for female students who were all asleep at the time.
He then woke up his two roommates and the trio confronted the two men who had already forced a window open.
A struggle then ensued and Longwe fled but the students managed to apprehend Mbao and called the police who came on the scene and took him to Godfrey Miyanda police post.

The following morning Mbao’s relatives took Longwe to the same police post after he failed to tell them his friend’s whereabouts.
In their defence, they told the court that on the material date, they met two LAMU female students at G-Greens night club and after drinking together, they arranged to sleep with the girls at the boarding house.
They said they went together to the boarding house but the girls allegedly made them wait outside the premises and that upon seeing that they were not coming out, Mbao and Longwe decided to follow them inside the yard where male students accused them of being thieves.
But in her judgment, Magistrate Chanda said the charge of criminal trespass qualified because no one allowed Mbao and Longwe to enter the premises and all female students were asleep then.
She said neither Mbao nor Longwe brought any girlfriend from LAMU to prove their claim, and that none of the female students from the institute knew the two accused persons.
“This was an afterthought as their intention was to steal but the young men were alert. I have not found any explanation to satisfy me. The prosecution has proved its case and I find you guilty and convict you accordingly.

“When we talk of crime this is what it means. You chose to move at night to break into the boarding house for students who are younger than you. They have moved away from their parents to study so that they can get what they want when they start work in future.
“Others have lost their lives over their property because of criminals like you. I will be failing in my duties if I don’t impose a maximum sentence. Why can’t you work if you love your children and your families? You left them at 01:00 hours and I can’t buy that story. You have to serve and I sentence you to 12 months imprisonment with hard labour with effect from today,” Ms. Chanda said.
In their mitigation, Mbao and Longwe had pleaded with the court not to give them a custodial sentence but community service at the court premises so that they could provide for their families.

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